Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mixing Shopping With Vancouver 2010

Depending on how you know me and how you came across this blog, you may not know that in February I was a part of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. A willing and able participant in spectating and displays of exorbitant amounts of Canadian pride. Yes I was in Vancouver to see and experience it all. It was a fascinating experience and very special to me as I have always wondered what it would be like to be at the Olympics. I started another blog to capture everything leading up to and at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. You can read my 2nd blog Journey to Vancouver 2010 – Diary of a Fan to get more details on everything that happened there. I was also guest blogging for Inside Vancouver which was great fun for me and gave me a chance to meet some great people. I was also grateful for the opportunity to have my writing reach a different audience.

In getting ready for Vancouver 2010, I knew I was going to want to spend some time looking for shopping places that I could write about in this blog. I did find a few, although not as many as I would have liked. I simply ran out of time and energy! I do hope to go back to Vancouver soon, possibly in the summer to explore the shopping areas I didn’t get to this time around. The ones I did see were great and I will definitely visit them again whenever I am in Vancouver.

The first area I went to was Gastown. It was a short walk on a beautiful day from our condo to the Gastown area. Quite a few souvenir shops occupied the area, as well as furniture/decor stores. I was on the hunt for clothing stores. The first store I went into was obakki. Their collection is manufactured locally in Vancouver. The clothes were beautiful, I loved their accessories and in particular their jackets caught my eye. Unfortunately for me, the prices were out of my comfortable range and I had to be happy with just looking. I checked out their website and they do sell online as well as wholesale their collection so there may be an obakki garment in my future wardrobe yet.

Photo: obakki website

Next door to them was Ishara. Another store with beautiful clothes and accessories from many different brands like: Modern Amusement, Smythe, Joe’s Jeans, Ella Moss.  I was fortunate to find a sweater on sale that I liked from brand Modern Amusement, a multi coloured stripe sweater that I see myself wearing with my Second Yoga jeans and silver Steve Madden flats. The store was recently located to Gastown from a mall and I’m glad they did otherwise I may never have come across them. There were some other tourists in the store while I was there. It was nice to see some other Olympic travellers getting away from events and street parties long enough to take in other parts of Vancouver.

My sweater from Ishara. I can't wait to wear it!

In our last few days in Vancouver after the Olympics were over was when I was able to do most of my shopping assignments. One store that caught my eye when I was shopping on Robson Street was Plenty. They had a great mix of price points, merchandise and brands. You could do one stop shopping there from tops and bottoms to shoes and accessories, even an Olympic souvenir if you wanted to! There were some familiar brands in here like Kensie, denim brands and their own in house brands like Propaganda. I tried on many things, mostly looking for something funky I could take home from Vancouver and because I feel like I am always so conservative. Well I tried funky and I think maybe it’s not for me. I ended up with a few tops that I think I can make funky with belts and accessories. Plenty is definitely a funky store and I really enjoyed shopping there. I’m trying to convince them via Twitter that they should open a store in Toronto but they don’t seem to be going for it. They have suggested that I come back and it’s a pretty sure bet that I will. I’m keeping an eye on their website, if it becomes an ecommerce site, I will be the first one to purchase from it.

My tops from Plenty on Robson Street. I should have bought more! It's a great store.

The last shopping area I managed to fit in before leaving for home was Yaletown. I had been told a lot of things about Yaletown and I have to say that people were right. They said I would love it there and I did. They said that it was all shops and restaurants and it was. They said it was a cool area and it was. They said I probably wouldn’t be able to afford anything and they were right! On a different trip I may have splurged and bought something expensive for myself but I couldn’t do it on this trip. It was cool to see brands I hadn’t ever seen before.  If nothing else it was an education into additional fashion brands out there. One store I was very intrigued by was Marimekko. As soon as I walked into this store I knew I wanted to buy something. Everything was bright colours and bold patterns. It immediately woke me up and made me feel like it was a brighter day. All fabrics are made by them and you can buy readymade pieces or buy fabric for a particular project you are working one. I didn’t have anything specific in mind that I needed for my home so I left there empty handed, unfortunately. I did get a card, will be checking out their website and will make sure I go back there if I visit Vancouver again this summer.

Kissanminttu pattern from Marimekko, one of their many fabrics Photo: Marimekko website

I did find 2 tops in the Mavi store in Yaletown. The off the shoulder style and raglan sleeve is a style I had been looking for so I bought 2 colours. The Mavi brand is sold in many stores across Toronto but we are without a store dedicated to the entire Mavi collection. Again at some point in my future I see another pair of Zoe jeans in my future, if only I could decide on a which wash I wanted.

Shopping areas I really wanted to get to but didn’t have time was the Mount Pleasant area around Main Street and Broadway and Granville Island. Think I’ll be watching West Jet for a seat sale and hoping someone in Vancouver invites me to stay with them this summer! It was amazing to be there in February when Vancouver welcomed the world, but I still have some shopping to do, or as I like to call it “research”!

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